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  1. #1
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    Default Where Did Zemo Come From?

    After the Red Skull, I don't think you can name a bigger enemy of Captain America than Baron Zemo. He's been the source of multiple major Avengers and Cap plots (to say nothing of launching The Thunderbolts).

    Thing is, why Zemo? Back in 1963, he had nothing to offer The Skull couldn't provide. You could have swapped them seamlessly.

    Kirby created Zemo. Kirby was also part of the team (with Simon) that created Red Skull. Was there something that prevented giving The Skull Zemo's role in 1963?

  2. #2
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Back then, they hadn’t decided to bring back the Red Skull yet. So they introduced him as a substitute. It was only after they decided to bring Skull back that Zemo seemed redundant. Though it did at least lead to Helmut, who makes a nice contrast.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    Back then, they hadn’t decided to bring back the Red Skull yet. So they introduced him as a substitute. It was only after they decided to bring Skull back that Zemo seemed redundant. Though it did at least lead to Helmut, who makes a nice contrast.
    They had been brought back Cap. Why not his Moriarty? I mean, what was stopping them?

    The "Archenemy" in Avengers 4 was excessively vague. It could easily have been The Skull. Why Zemo?

    Backstory?

  4. #4
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    For a long time he WAS redundant, but they eventually found a niche for him as more of a Prussian aristocrat than a Nazi. Red Skull became, if possible, even more evil than he was, the embodiment of everything repulsive in the human psyche. Zemo became the embodiment of aristocracy, which lead to a different range of stories than Skull's utter, queasy loathesomeness. If Skull is Rogers' Joker, Zemo is his Penguin.

  5. #5
    Mighty Member John Venus's Avatar
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    Skull is a villain you love to hate. He is loathsome to the point where he becomes a punching bag. You even enjoy other villains including the Kingpin sum slamming him.

    Zemo, especially Helmut, offers more complexity (Captain America you killed my father, prepare to die) and a general sense of coolness (the sword, the aristocratic charm and even the sock mask looks cool under the right artist).

  6. #6
    Mighty Member John Venus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelC View Post
    For a long time he WAS redundant, but they eventually found a niche for him as more of a Prussian aristocrat than a Nazi. Red Skull became, if possible, even more evil than he was, the embodiment of everything repulsive in the human psyche. Zemo became the embodiment of aristocracy, which lead to a different range of stories than Skull's utter, queasy loathesomeness. If Skull is Rogers' Joker, Zemo is his Penguin.
    Ah yes, the "I would be your archenemy if it weren't for the other more popular iconic villain' villain. The secondary archenemy.

    Though I think with Batman it would be either Riddler or Two Face.

  7. #7
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    So does anybody have a backstory on why Kirby created a different villain for Cap when he was added to the Avengers rather than use The Skull?

  8. #8
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    I think there was a tendency for a while to create Anti-Big-Three villains for the Avengers that weren't their solo nemeses. Zemo was the team-centric anti-Cap, a leader and tactical genius who put together groups of villains. Kang was the team-centric anti-Iron Man, a warmongering colonizer and power-armor wearer. Enchantress and Executioner were the Anti-Thor, a beautiful aristocrat and barbarian warrior.

    It wasn't absolute, of course. Enchantress and Executioner were sometimes solo villains of Thor, Mandarin was sometimes an Avenger villain, but there was definitely a tendency to create an Anti-Big-Three who weren't also their solo Arch-Enemies, and more represented their roles on teams mirrored darkly.

    Red Skull is not the Anti-Cap as a role on teams. He is the Anti-Cap as an individual.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member K7P5V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Venus View Post
    Ah yes, the "I would be your archenemy if it weren't for the other more popular iconic villain' villain. The secondary archenemy.

    Though I think with Batman it would be either Riddler or Two Face.
    My thoughts exactly. If it's alright, I might even add the original Mr. Freeze:



    Last edited by K7P5V; 02-14-2020 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Added more images.

  10. #10
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    Nah, Mister Freeze isn't even the main villain of most stories he's in. In his first appearance, the real villain was the guy who caused his accident. In another story, the villain was this Walt Disney expy. In a future episode, it was the corporation exploiting him. Freeze's main role is to be the victim who lashes out and goes too far against the main villain. He isn't the Anti-Batman. He isn't even the Anti-Adult-Bruce-Wayne. He's the Anti-9-Year-Old-Bruce, forever trapped in that alleyway crying.
    Last edited by MichaelC; 02-14-2020 at 02:14 PM.

  11. #11
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    It's also possible that they wanted to separate this Cap from the 1950s version, hence not only using Zemo instead of the Skull (who was used in that run) but also killing off Bucky.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelC View Post
    Nah, Mister Freeze isn't even the main villain of most stories he's in. In his first appearance, the real villain was the guy who caused his accident. In another story, the villain was this Walt Disney expy. In a future episode, it was the corporation exploiting him. Freeze's main role is to be the victim who lashes out and goes too far against the main villain. He isn't the Anti-Batman. He isn't even the Anti-Adult-Bruce-Wayne. He's the Anti-9-Year-Old-Bruce, forever trapped in that alleyway crying.
    Yeah, good point. Both Riddler & Two-Face began as victims of their respective main villains (Mockridge for Nygma/Rupert Thorne for Dent), then the two deviated from there and went off in their own direction. While, Mr. Freeze continued in the same trajectory without any deviation from his introduction.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigiCom View Post
    It's also possible that they wanted to separate this Cap from the 1950s version, hence not only using Zemo instead of the Skull (who was used in that run) but also killing off Bucky.
    That's a thought that hadn't occurred to me.

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